Best for hungry shoppers
Located in the West Quay shopping centre, this branch of Carluccio’s is the ideal place for lunch or dinner after indulging in some retail therapy. Or as it’s only a short walk to the ODEON, the restaurant is also convenient for film buffs. With a two-course daytime menu available for under £13, you can enjoy good classic Italian food on a budget. An impressive choice of vegan and vegetarian dishes is nice to see too.
Address: West Quay Shopping Centre, Southampton SO15 1QF
For sample menu and reservations: www.carluccios.com/restaurant/southampton
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Best for brasserie dining
Some of the best restaurants in Southampton are situated on Oxford Street, and this cosmopolitan brasserie with its modern menu serves up exquisite English, French and Italian dishes, all using the best of ingredients. Visit on a special occasion and enjoy an intimate meal in relaxed surroundings. There’s even outside tables for an al fresco experience when the weather is fine.
Address: 33-34 Oxford Street, Southampton SO14 3DS
For sample menu and reservations: www.theoxfordbrasserie.co.uk
Best for a Sunday roast
It’s no great surprise to learn that this 18th-century pub, a Vintage Inn, was built on the site of a cowherd’s house, though you may be pleasantly delighted by charming décor inside. The menu is equally as inviting, serving traditional pub grub, including Sunday roast and seasonal pies every Wednesday. Look out too for the Weekend Treat menu — enjoy two courses and a bottle of wine for just £44 a couple. Southampton Common is on the doorstep.
Address: The Common, Southampton SO15 7NN
For sample menu and reservations: www.vintageinn.co.uk/restaurants/south-east/thecowherdssouthampton
Best for something different
Authentic Mauritian street food is the order of the day at Lakaz Maman, a fantastic relaxed restaurant owned by 2012 MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo. The name means ‘Mum’s House’ in Shelina’s native Mauritian Creole, so expect plenty of homely dishes, approved by her mother, on the menu. Catering for dairy-free, gluten-free, halal, vegan and vegetarian diets, you’ll find a choice of traditional curries, sunshine salads and island wraps. Or pop in for breakfast.
Address: 22 Bedford Place, Southampton SO15 2DB
For sample menu and reservations: www.lakazmaman.com
Best for carnivores
It’s not only the fantastically cooked chargrilled steaks that get the thumbs up at this Oxford Street restaurant, the service and ambience are highly rated too — you’re sure to enjoy an evening out eating contemporary Galician food. A choice of Hampshire rib-eye, sirloin, fillet, T-bone and rump steaks will please meat eaters — large cuts are available for two to share — and there’s also a substantial menu for gluten-free diets.
Address: 29 Oxford Street, Southampton S014 3DJ
For sample menu and reservations: www.carnicero.co.uk
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Best for a light bite
The Pig in the Wall
The Pig in the Wall offers a relaxed deli-dining experience, where you can enjoy Piggy Bits, sour dough toasties, salads or wholesome large plates, such as a Hampshire cured meats board or a warm homemade quiche. Open until 8pm, the food is simple yet satisfying. Residents at the hotel who want a more formal dinner can be chauffeured by Land Rover to its sister hotel and restaurant, The Pig, in the nearby New Forest.
Address: 8 Western Esplanade, Southampton SO14 2AZ
For sample menu and reservations: www.thepighotel.com/in-the-wall
Best for family favourites
Close to Southampton’s pretty Palmerston Park, Bella Italia is also only a few minutes’ walk from the Guildhall and eight minutes from the excellent Mayflower Theatre, so perfect for a meal before or after a show. With traditional Italian favourites on the menu, such as pollo funghi and lamb rosmarino, as well as plenty of pizzas and fresh pasta, the family-friendly restaurant is sure to be a hit with everyone.
Address: 107 Above Bar Street, Southampton SO14 7FH
For sample menu and reservations: www.bellaitalia.co.uk/italian-restaurant/southampton/above-bar
Best for a relaxed vibe
Simons Bar Kitchen
Diners can enjoy good food, and perhaps a glass of fine wine, while listening to live music at Simons Bar Kitchen, an eatery on Southampton’s Oxford Street close to the historic docks. Choose from a value-for-money lunch and early evening set menu, or perhaps a main, such as a Hampshire sirloin steak or pan-fried seabass, from the dinner choices. Deli boards to share are available too.
Address: 35-36 Oxford Street, Southampton SO14 3DS
For sample menu and reservations: simonsbarkitchen.co.uk
Best for traditional tapas
If you’re a fan of traditional Spanish tapas, love the country’s wine and enjoy dining in a typical Spanish setting, then head to La Regata, an authentic restaurant that’s been in the heart of the Southampton waterfront for 22 years. Favourites such as tortilla, patatas bravas, albondigas, pescado frito and pimientos de padron are all on the menu, and can be washed down with a glass of rioja or tempranillo. What’s not to like?
Address: Town Quay, Southampton SO14 2AR
For sample menu and reservations: www.laregata.co.uk
Best for social soirées
All Bar One
It’s easy to work up an appetite while shopping, so when you need to refuel, and have a rest, pop into All Bar One at West Quay. The stylish city bar is a great venue for meeting friends and catching over a light lunch or a few sharing plates. A date night, or mate night, menu offers a value-for-money two-course treat for £10. Or enjoy bottomless bubbles and brunch on a Sunday.
Address: West Quay, Southampton SO15 1QE
For sample menu and reservations: www.allbarone.co.uk/national-search/south-east/all-bar-one-southampton
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